10-11 cm Bill somewhat long (2.3 cm), notably curved. Mainly bright green, velvety black center of belly. Long, forked tail, almost all white except for the broad blackish tips. Female replaces black velvet with pure white on the belly. Also, the white spreads like freckles towards the center of the chest and throat.
It is found in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and heavily degraded former forest.
The following subspecies are known for Colombia:
L. l. liriope Bangs, 1910 – Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (North of Colombia). Endemic subspecies
L. l. lafresnayi (Boissonneau, 1840) – Serranía del Perijá and eastern Andes
L. l. longirostris Schuchmann et al., 2003 – Central Cordillera (Antioquia to Tolima). Endemic subspecies
L. l. saul (DeLattre & Bourcier, 1846) – South western Colombia
Its natural habitat is cloud forests, secondary forests and subparamo, between 1800 to 3500 meters above sea level.
Consume the nectar of flowers such as Centropogon, Castilleja, Siphocampylus (Campanulaceae), Salvia (Lamiaceae), Tristerix (Loranthaceae), Puya (Bromeliaceae), Ericaceae and Gesneriaceae (Schuchmann 1999, Gutiérrez et al. 2004). Probable pollinator of Cavendishia bracteata (Luteyn and Pedraza-Peñalosa 2009). They consume a large number of arthropods that they capture on the fly or from the surface of plants (Remsen et al. 1986). During his study, Rico (2008) found that only females consume hemiptera (he did not find spiders in their crops). Diptera remains have been recorded in stomach content analysis (Fierro-Calderón et al. 2006). It forages in low levels of the forest, on flowers with long tubular corollas suited to its curved bill (Hilty and Brown 1986). The sexes are thought to forage alone and in different strata (Restall et al. 2007, Rico 2008).
In Baeza, Napo province, reproductive activity was recorded between October and January, according to the information compiled by Ortiz-Crespo (2003). Fjeldså and Krabbe (1990) report nests between January and February in Papallacta (Napo province).
Uncommon to locally common (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001). Species registered as common in Cerro Mongus, Carchi province, between 3,200 and 3,650 m (Robbins et al. 1994). Uncommon in the town of El Triunfo, in the Llanganates National Park (Benítez et al. 2000). Common in the high Andean forest and rare in the sub-paramo in the Galeras volcano (3300-3950 m) southern Colombia (Gutiérrez et al. 2004).
Resident (Freile 2009). It shows marked seasonal movements towards higher altitudes in subparamo and paramo (Hilty and Brown 1986, Restall et al. 2007). Observed even in the Metropolitan Park of Quito, 30 km east of the Pichincha volcano, where it is regular (Freile without publ.).